Been hunting one for 10 years. If that is the only food source around, deer will hit it consistently. If acorns are falling, they will still gravitate to it, especially after the first frost when the sugar content rises in the apples. As usual hunt trails leading to it and runs coming from bedding areas. I find deer hit the orchard all hours of the day. Even after heavy snow, they will still dig under the trees for apples or feed on next-years growth. I find 90% of my sheds in February-March in the orchards also.
I've got about 4 orchards I hunt. This year is the first year I am hunting really close to the orchard as the other years I was deeper in the woods. Just from what I'm seeing in this one orchard? The deer are in there around the clock. I can't drive in there without kicking deer, at ALL times of the day. I have several spots picked but there are so many trails, IDK which one to sit first!
Hunted one for a long time with good results. It's a development now. But it was the honey hole for a long time. On windy days hunt the tree rows by going across the rows. Looking both ways but mostly the downwind direction. They almost always lie looking in the opposite direction the wind is coming from. You be amazed how many you can stalk into bow range. I know what everyone will say they will smell you before you get close but it worked for me.
I tried extremely hard to get in on a local orchard but it was a no go.. i have 1 spot that has a single apple tree inside a horse pasture next to a house and barn..theres 8 deer every night under that thing before dark they just cant get enough of those apples
Two sides of my property are bordered by an apple orchard and I can tell you it's awesome! The deer use the orchard all day long and all year long too. It's like a magnet during the late season though after a frost and after other crops have been harvested. I prefer not hunting right in the orchard itself but the trails leading into it.
My place upstate is part of a once large farm. I have an orchard-approx 3 dozen trees. They are loaded this year and the deer are all over them. Alot falling already. I wish there was a nearby college that would adopt it as a study/work area, it has alot of potential, it's just difficult to maintain as an absentee guy. 4 years ago 2 hogs descimated the area around the trees, looked like it had been rototilled. Hogs were shot by neighbors, evidently some of the ones from the SGL on the NY border several miles away.
Few years back I watched a doe munching on an apple and begin to choke, she wheezed while all the others stared at her. She coughed it up and then resumed eating it. Very entertaining sitting in an orchard, not just for the deer.
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